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The Environmentalists: Elise Fabbro

Q&A

By Laura Paisley
November 12, 2013

Elise Fabbro ’11, ’12 is attending law school at the University of San Diego, in San Diego, Calif. She graduated from USC Dornsife with bachelor’s degrees in political science and environmental studies and a progressive master’s degree in environmental studies. Illustration by Niklas Asker.

Elise Fabbro ’11, ’12 is attending law school at the University of San Diego, in San Diego, Calif. She graduated from USC Dornsife with bachelor’s degrees in political science and environmental studies and a progressive master’s degree in environmental studies. Illustration by Niklas Asker.

What prompted you to pursue a degree in law?

I have known since high school that I wanted the environment to be a prominent part of my career, and that I wanted to pursue law. I am specifically interested in working with environmental companies and legislation. My lifelong goal is to improve consumer products by changing product labeling to give clear information about the impact the product and its manufacturing has on human health and the environment. Consumers have the right to know what’s in the products they purchase.

Talk about your research on product labeling as part of your progressive master’s degree.

Many people want to be “green” or vote with their dollar, but without readily available product information, they aren’t going to do the economic impact analysis on their own. So my research explored the idea of employing a universal grading scale, labeling all products with a green score for environmental impact on a scale of one to 100 so that consumers can make an informed decision when they buy.

People put a lot of trust into companies to do the right thing with their resources, so it’s the job of the people and the government to ask companies to give back to communities.

How did your internship at Green Chamber of Commerce (GCC) inform your law work?

I’m really interested in green businesses both from a business and a law perspective. I think the key to environmental change is leveraging both business and policy change. GCC was great because it brought together so many green businesses I would never have been exposed to otherwise. It devotes itself to policy promotion, and many of the policies were new to me. Now I’m informed at the local [San Francisco] level about the Styrofoam ban, opting in to the yellow pages, the banning of plastic bags and the sale of shark fins. So the experience gave me a great introduction to businesses interacting directly with environmental policy.

If you could have dinner with any environmentalist, who would it be?

Al Gore. The former vice president was a huge inspiration for my interest in environmental studies. He directed much-needed attention to the topic of climate change, bringing it from an environmental issue to a human issue, affecting how we live daily.

 

Read more stories from USC Dornsife Magazine's Fall 2013-Winter 2014 issue